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Janice Slater Impending Death on the Way to See Captain Fortune

When I look at this photo of my school friend Carol and myself I can't believe we're in the city that day to go and see Captain Fortune. We looked older (with regard to today's teenagers) than one would expect, to be going to see a kid's T.V. show host. Yet here we are, before seeing that mythical figure. Janice Slater

This has to be 1960 – I have entries in "The Commonwealth Industrial Gases Limited" diary which states outings into the wider world with Carol….January 1960. Monday 4th . "Guess who arrived at my place, Carol Edwards, and asked if I'd go to the pictures with her on Wednesday – said yes. After about half an hour we made up our minds to see "Big Circus" at the Esquire. Home Carol went and inside I went to watch T.V. till bed time.

T.V. was by then firmly established in our world.

On the day Carol and I went to see Captain Fortune it was definitely a BIG event! Two teenage girls let loose in the big smoke heading for Anthony Horderns – the wonderful store whose intricate faηade reminded me of the equally elaborate icing on my Aunt Em's multi-tiered wedding cake. Along with that, Anthony Hordern's motto "While I Live I Grow" was firmly established as important to my developing ethos …. Not to forget its delicately decorated Christmas windows over-brimming with snowflakes which announced other worlds … beyond beaches and sunburn.

Yet here we are – Carol and I now within Hordern's portals and heading towards the doors of one of its iron-clad lifts … with an operator, no doubt a woman with a fierce expression and accommodating voice, encouraging bodies to place feet on tenuously shifting floors. I hated lifts! Except for their Victorian aesthetics, but once encaged – entrapped, one inhabited a world of taught and shuddering ropes – echoing my worst nightmare – The lift was stuck between floors – impending death on the way to see ….. Captain Fortune! My shiny face in the photo-booth piccie – belies any semblance of the terror I felt. I definitely didn't want to die visiting my favourite T.V. personality (outside of Mickey Mouse Club) … and harbouring dreams of being a "Mouseketeer"} CAPTAIN FORTUNE!

CAPTAIN FORTUNE remains the open hearted mythical sailor who inhabited a dreamscape of possibilities beyond suburbia – where one entertained Janice Slatera life of absurdity – of wayward and benevolent acts and adventures into shipwrecks of good and bad fortune. I managed t get his autograph … now manage to recall a glimpse of the joy felt at seeing him surrounded by countless kids in "real life" … and now it seems that CAPTAIN FORTUNE was to bring more god luck my way than I could have guessed : by the way of a treasured friendship with one of his daughters, Kathie Herbert, and with meeting his grandsons. How could I imagine then that one day I would tell my story to Kathie, that her father was my childhood T.V. hero and that I could show her my little schoolgirl autograph book with his signature.

Janice Slater
September 7, 2006.